A polarized Senate voted Thursday against expanding background checks for more gun purchases, rejecting the proposal a day after the latest U.S. mass shooting left 14 people dead in California.

Thursday’s mostly party-line 50-48 vote, which followed the Senate’s defeat of other firearms curbs, underscored that political gridlock over the issue remains formidable in Washington, even amid a rash of highly publicized U.S. shootings and last month’s terror attack in Paris.

Earlier Thursday, the Senate in mostly party-line votes rejected rival proposals that could make it harder for people the government suspects of being terrorists from purchasing firearms.

Rifles used in shooting were purchased legally

The military-style rifles used in the deadly California shootings were legally purchased, the U.S. government said Thursday.

The two rifles were not specifically listed among the models outlawed under California’s famously tough gun laws, and as long as each included a minor design change affecting how bullets are loaded into the weapon they would have been legal.

California limited access to high-powered, military-style rifles in 1989 and lawmakers passed further restrictions in 2000, when they banned specific types of AR-15 and AK-47 style rifles. Included in the ban were rifles that can use detachable ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds and have other characteristics.

But rifles that aren’t specifically listed in the ban are considered legal, as long as a tool is required to release the ammunition magazine. The change is intended to effectively limit the number of rounds the gun can fire because it presumably takes extra time to reload

Sheriff urges residents to carry guns when outside

An upstate New York sheriff is urging residents of his county who are licensed gun owners to arm themselves when they leave home, citing recent mass shootings in the United States and Paris.

“I urge you to responsibly take advantage of your legal right to carry a firearm,” Ulster County Sheriff Paul Van Blarcum, a Democrat, wrote on the department’s Facebook page less than 24 hours after 14 people were shot dead in San Bernardino, California.

The post quickly drew hundreds of comments, for and against it. “I’m not trying to drum up a militia of any sort,” Van Blarcum told The Associated Press on Thursday. “It’s just a reminder that if you want to, you have a right to carry it. It might come in handy.

– From news service reports